By Mike Maltais
In the Methow Valley version of Friday Night Lights, the Liberty Bell High School varsity football team rode the visiting Mustangs of Bridgeport to a lopsided 61-13 victory before an overflow Homecoming crowd last Friday (Oct. 4).
The Mountain Lions served early notice of what the evening might look like when senior defensive back Milo Holston intercepted Bridgeport’s first pass from scrimmage deep in Mustang territory to set up a touchdown sprint by senior running back Austin Watson on Liberty Bell’s first offensive possession.
Bridgeport never really threatened the fired-up Mountain Lions after the hometown boys seized the early game momentum.
Penalties plagued the Mustangs on their next possession as officials marched Bridgeport back 30 yards into their own territory, deep enough that the visitors had to punt out of the pickle they were in.
Throughout the game the Mustang defenders line left too many holes in their front line and Liberty Bell’s rushing and passing offense found them at regular intervals.
“We were pleased with the outcome of the game,” said coach Sy Bannick. “Our offense had moments where we were firing on all cylinders.”
Those included touchdowns by Watson, quarterback Chip Jones, receiver Chase Kurtz, running back Jorge Lara and defensive back Cesar Dominguez.
Watson carried the ball 11times for two TDs and added a third on a punt return. Jones had one rushing TD to his credit and threw for two more. Kurtz made the most of his height and hands to add two TDs of his own.
Lara, whose specialty of the night was kickoffs and extra points, only carried the ball twice but one was enough for a score.
Dominguez sweetened a 20-tackle performance with a fumble recovery and touchdown.
Bridgeport grabbed a break two minutes into the second quarter when a Liberty Bell pass behind the quarterback, ruled a lateral, slipped through the receiver’s fingers, was picked up by a Mustang defender and carried into the Mountain Lion end zone. An extra point kick attempt was blocked, but Bridgeport would avoid a shutout.
“Our defense dominated the entire game,” Bannick said.
Dominguez and Milo Holston led the defensive effort with 20 tackles each. Emmett Fink had another outstanding game and broke into the double digits with 13 tackles.
Before the night was over 13 Mountain Lion defenders would divide 95 tackles among them.
“We had a couple big special teams plays and our kicking game was outstanding again,” Bannick said.
Lara averaged over 50 yards in each of his 10 kickoffs and anchored all the extra point attempts.
The undefeated Mountain Lions have a tough contest ahead of them when the team travels to Oroville Friday (Oct. 11) to meet the Hornets. Oroville suffered its first loss of the season last week on the road to Kittitas, 20-13, and will be looking for redemption at Liberty Bell’s expense.
“We have a lot of issues to work on this week in order to prepare for a very tough opponent,” Bannick cautioned. “Oroville has had a good run these last few years and has been producing solid football teams. We will not be able to get away with any mental mistakes or sloppiness if we expect to win this game.”
Austin Watson – 11 carries for 115 yards,
Chip Jones – 4 carries for 14 yards, 1 TD, 3/8 passing for 44 yards, 2 TDs
Chase Kurtz – 5 carries for 10 yards, 2 receptions for 27 yards, 2 TDs
Jorge Lara – 2 carries for 15 yards, 1 TD
Emmett Fink – 6 carries for 63 yards
Milo Holston – 3 carries for 33 yards, 1 reception for 17 yards
Jacob McMillan – 2 carries for 45 yards
Cesar Dominguez – 20 tackles, 1 batted down pass, 1 fumble recovery, 1 TD
Milo Holston – 20 tackles, 2 interceptions
Emmett Fink – 13 tackles
Jacob McMillan – 8 tackles
Colby Smith – 7 tackles
Jose Dominguez – 6 tackles
Chase Kurtz – 4 tackles
Austin Watson – 4 tackles
Jaymis Hansen – 4 tackles
Riley Dickinson – 3 tackles
Tyson Coleman – 2 tackles
Issac Cordes – 2 tackles
Garrett Jensen – 2 tackles
Special teams stats
Jorge Lara – 10 kickoffs for 532 yards
Austin Watson – 2 punt returns for 77 yards, 1 TD
Jacob McMillan – 1 return for 44 yards
Cesar Dominguez – 1 return for 18 yards